Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) bridged to a late move Saturday at the Tour de l'Eurométropole then fought off a dangerous attack by Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) over the final 2km of the Belgian one-day race to the the win ahead of BMC Racing's Jempy Drucker and AG2R La Mondiale's Oliver Naesen. Benoot held on for fifth.
A six-rider breakaway animated the early going of the 206km race when Karl Patric Lauk (Fortuneo-Samic), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC Racing), Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing), Michael Rice (Hagens Berman Axon), Marten Kooistra (SEG Racing) and Lionel Taminiaux (AGO-Aqua Service) went up the road, eventually gaining more then seven minutes on the bunch.
With a handful of top sprinters in the peloton, however, the breakaway's chances looked dim until a group of opportunists joined them as the peloton neared.
Six riders, Benoot, Drucker, Naesen, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Alex Kirsch (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) bridged to the leaders just before entering the last local circuit with 14km remaining. Pedersen waited and jumped across to the leaders when the gap was at 20 seconds, then Stuyven helped set him up for the sprint win.
"I was there with good legs, and the [leading] group was quite close, so I thought if I could jump and help Jasper to keep the group away it would be perfect," Pedersen said. "And then I came, and I saw Jasper had made a gap to the other four guys in the front."
Benoot's attack would have been successful but for Stuyven, who dug deep for his teammate.
"Jasper was impressive… that was really nice," Pedersen said.
"The spring was really good for me," added Pedersen, who finished second in the Tour of Flanders. "And then I had some bad luck in the BinckBank Tour and in the past few weeks, but now it is looking like a good late season."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo|
|2||Jempy Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team|
|3||Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale|
|4||Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Hagens Berman Axeon|
|5||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|6||Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|7||Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data|
|8||Jan-Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij|
|9||Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic|
|10||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
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